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Upcoming Dig Ventures archaeology dig at Coldingham Priory

Crowdfunded archaeological company Dig Ventures are following up their successful digs at Lindisfarne to look for the related Anglo-Saxon monastery at Coldingham. Members of the public can sign up to join the dig, for a fee, and will learn how to use a trowel and take part in the archaeological excavations and any discoveries made.

The dates of the dig are Saturday 30th September and Sunday 1st October 2017. For more information, and to sign up, see here.

St Andrews University students from Coldingham

An online database of St Andrews University students between 1747 and 1897 was recently launched. This provides a searchable biographical database of alumni between those years. The biographies were compiled by the former Keeper of the Muniments at St Andrews, Dr Robert Smart. For more descriptive details see the blog post here, and search the database here.

Seven students associated with Coldingham show up in the database:

  • Patrick Brydone (1736-1818) son of the Rev. Robert Brydone minister at Coldingham. Student 1750-1754.
  • William Paterson, b. 1810 son of Thomas Paterson, Coldingham, and Jane Young. Student 1829-1830. Later missionary and minister at various places, including Cockburnspath.
  • David Munro (1817-1902), son of Alexander Munro, merchant St Andrews, and Isabel Walker. Student 1831-1839. Later teacher at Ayr Academy and minister at Tweedmouth and Coldingham.
  • Andrew Henderson (1825-1904), born at Kirkwall, son of Andrew Henderson, custom house officer Dundee, and Margaret Loutit. Student 1839-1843. United Presbyterian minister at Coldingham and Paisley.
  • John Greenfield, from Coldingham. Student 1855-1856. Possibly my relative, son of John Greenfield and Janet McKay, later teacher at Hawick and Denholm, and died 1915 at Paisley aged 80.
  • Thomas Young, b. ca 1845/6 at Ayton/Galashiels, possibly son of William Young, Coldingham, and Ann Cockburn. Student 1866-1875.
  • John Ramsay (1871-ca1940), son of Alexander Ramsay, mason Cupar, and Jessie Miller. Student 1886-1890. Later teacher at Cupar, Castle Douglas, Culross and Coldingham.

Farm horse tax records for 1797

I’ve added a transcript of the farm horse tax list for Coldingham parish in 1797. It includes the names of 88 owners and their addresses (many farms, and smaller locations), and the number of horses each used for husbandry or trade that were thus liable for tax. It’s interesting to see the long list of farms recorded, together with numbers of working horses giving an approximate guide to the scale of agriculture going on. But it’s also interesting to see how many other people had horses for small-scale husbandry or trade.

Creating new Coldingham one-place study website

I’ve had a hand-coded HTML site for my one-place study for some years, but it has become rather unwieldy in terms of structure and organisation, and it’s not the easiest thing for people to read.

So I’ve now switched to a WordPress-based site, which will have a much more structured approach to the resources that I put online. I am also hoping it will encourage me to add more!

The new site also incorporates the accompanying blog. All the previous blog entries have been imported, but their original in-text links may not all work. I will fix them over time. And new posts will be added to the blog here in future.

Two medieval Coldingham journal papers free online May 2016

I’ve just discovered today that there are two recent academic journal papers about the Coldingham area, which are freely available online until the end of May 2016. So download them fast! Normally they are only available to subscribers to the journals, and members of academic institutions that subscribe to them. But to celebrate their new website Edinburgh University Press have made their journal papers all freely available until the end of May.

The two papers are both by academic Dr J. Donnelly. The most recent was published in the April 2016 issue of the Journal of Scottish Historical Studies, titled “The perils and dangers of these knights (and undead peasants): Interpreting English and Scottish Extent Rolls of 1297-1305“. I’ve only glanced through it quickly so far, but it includes some discussion of the Coldingham evidence, including for non-knights – more ordinary people.

The other paper, in some ways a companion piece, was published in the Innes Review in 2012. “Cult and culture in a medieval community: Ayton and Coldingham, 1188-1376“. It is a 52-page article, with much information about the nature of local life in these parishes. Again I’ve only looked at it briefly so far – too eager to post here and tell people to get it while it is still freely available! But it looks superb for giving an insight into life and society in the Coldingham area three centuries and more before surviving parish registers.

Both journal papers are only available freely online until the end of May 2016, so get them now! They will continue to be available online afterwards in a more restricted form, and in print form in academic and university libraries who subscribe to the relevant journals.

Another 44 names added to Coldingham WW1 servicemen/women list

Tonight I added more names to this list, drawing on names recorded in the Reston United Free Church Roll of Honour. A few of these names are probably existing soldiers already in the list, but most aren’t, and are new. The Coldingham WW1 list now has 330 names, and will continue to be updated as new information is found.

Pulling out list of RHP plans for Coldingham parish from NRS catalogue

I’ve been using the National Archives of Scotland (previously Scottish Record Office) online catalogues for many years. Now it’s part of the National Records of Scotland, and I’ve just been trying some more catalogue searches, and found something new for me. The NRS has lots of plans for places in Scotland in the past, including maps, sketch plans of places, and architectural plans. And these seem to be largely tagged by place.

Searching for the place tag for Coldingham parish finds 207 of these RHP maps and plans, from the 18th to the 20th centuries. Check out the list to see if any might concern your ancestors, depending on when and where they lived. Contact the NRS for further information on accessing these records, including arranging photocopies or digital copies.